Spring 2016 – e-Newsletter

In this issue, we ask the question: Is S corporation the right entity choice for your business?

Winter 2015 e-Newsletter

This issue we will discuss year-end tax planning items – specifically charitable donations.

Summer/Fall e-Newsletter

Thank you for taking time to read our inaugural e-Newsletter! We named our eNewsletter “De-duck-tions”, as in tax deductions, because people repeatedly ask ‘what can I deduct?” In our e-Newsletter, we will delve into these issues and more. We’ll provide you with the latest tax planning and compliance strategies and along the way inform you of other services that can help you achieve financial success.

White House, Congress seek to avert “fiscal cliff”

All eyes are on Washington as the White House and the GOP seek to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” before the end of the year.  President Obama and House Republicans are negotiating the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts, mandatory spending cuts and more in the last weeks of 2012 and negotiations are expected to go right up to the end of the year.  At the same time, the IRS has cautioned that the start of the 2013 filing season could be delayed for many taxpayers because of late tax legislation.

 

Additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on wages starts January 1st

President Obama’s health care package enacted two new taxes that take effect January 1, 2013. One of these taxes is the additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on earned income; the other is the 3.8 percent tax on net investment income. The 0.9 percent tax applies to individuals; it does not apply to corporations, trusts or estates. The 0.9 percent tax applies to wages, other compensation, and self-employment income that exceed specified thresholds.

 

Bonuses and year-end tax planning

As the end of the calendar year approaches, taxpayers ordinarily prefer to minimize current-year income by deferring the inclusion of taxable income to the following year, while accelerating deductions to the current year. However, as many taxpayers are aware, individual income tax rates may increase in 2013, with the potential for dramatic increases for higher-income individuals (if not all individuals).

 

FAQ: Should I convert to a Roth IRA before 2012 ends?

With 2013 bearing down on us, we hope you have a moment to spare from holiday preparation for some good old-fashioned year-end tax planning. By now you must be familiar with the term “fiscal cliff” and how the expiring provisions, tax rates, and budget appropriations may affect small business, big business, and politics in Washington, DC. However, the looming expiration dates for the Bush-era tax cuts and other tax provisions set to become effective in 2013 may also have consequences for how you save for retirement. This year we have advice for IRA account holders in particular.

 

How do I? Use low interest rates to my tax advantage

Certain planning techniques involve the use of interest rates to value interests being transferred to charity or to private beneficiaries. While the use of these techniques does not necessarily depend on the interest rate, low interest rates may increase their value.

 

December 2012 tax compliance calendar

As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of December 2012.

 

Stay within the tax rules when combining business and personal travel

Whether for a day, a week or longer, many of the costs associated with business trips may be tax-deductible. The tax code includes a myriad of rules designed to prevent abuses of tax-deductible business travel. One concern is that taxpayers will disguise personal trips as business trips. However, there are times when taxpayers can include some personal activities along with business travel and not run afoul of the IRS.

 

Check status of a charity before making a contribution

Americans donate hundreds of millions of dollars every year to charity. It is important that every donation be used as the donors intended and that the charity is legitimate. The IRS oversees the activities of charitable organizations. This is a huge job because of the number and diversity of tax-exempt organizations and one that the IRS takes very seriously.

 

Actual vehicle expense method may help offset higher gas prices

As gasoline prices have climbed in 2011, many taxpayers who use a vehicle for business purposes are looking for the IRS to make a mid-year adjustment to the standard mileage rate. In the meantime, taxpayers should review the benefits of using the actual expense method to calculate their deduction. The actual expense method, while requiring careful recordkeeping, may help offset the cost of high gas prices if the IRS does not make a mid-year change to the standard mileage rate. Even if it does, you might still find yourself better off using the actual expense method, especially if your vehicle also qualifies for bonus depreciation.

 

IRS streamlined offer-in-compromise program aims to cut red tape

The IRS’s streamlined offer-in-compromise (OIC) program is intended to speed up the processing of OICs for qualified taxpayers. Having started in 2010, the streamlined OIC program is relatively new. The IRS recently issued instructions to its examiners, urging them to process streamlined OICs as expeditiously as possible. One recent survey estimates that one in 15 taxpayers is now in arrears on tax payments to the IRS to at least some degree.  Because of continuing fallout from the economic downturn, however, the IRS has tried to speed up its compromise process to the advantage of both hard-pressed taxpayers and its collection numbers.

 

New broker-reporting rules: burden to brokers a boon to taxpayers?

As a result of recent changes in the law, many brokerage customers will begin seeing something new when they gaze upon their 1099-B forms early next year.  In the past, of course, brokers were required to report to their clients, and the IRS, those amounts reflecting the gross proceeds of any securities sales taking place during the preceding calendar year.

 

Scope of information reporting continues to expand

Information reporting continues to expand as Congress seeks to close the tax gap: the estimated $350 billion difference between what taxpayers owe and what they pay. Despite the recent rollback of expanded information reporting for business payments and rental property expense payments, the trend is for more – not less – information reporting of various transactions to the IRS.

 

Next year’s tax return starts with good record-keeping

 

As the 2011 tax filing season comes to an end, now is a good time to begin thinking about next year’s returns. While it may seem early to be preparing for 2012, taking some time now to review your recordkeeping will pay off when it comes time to file next year.

 

FAQ: What is a limited liability company?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a business entity created under state law. Every state and the District of Columbia have LLC statutes that govern the formation and operation of LLCs.

 

How Do I? Write Off Bad Business Debts

A business with a significant amount of receivables should evaluate whether some of them may be written off as business bad debts. A business taxpayer may deduct business bad debts if the receivable becomes partially or completely worthless during the tax year.

 

2011 filing season trending higher in return processing and refunds

April 18, 2011 (the deadline for filing 2010 federal income tax returns) marks the official end for the 2011 filing season. According to the IRS, this year’s filing season has moved along with few problems. Statistics show that return filings of all Form 1040s for individual taxpayers are trending at a slightly higher pace from this time last year, with an increase particularly noticeable in the amount of refunds.  Of course, some individuals will owe money to the IRS and there are options for making payments. At the same time, there are more options for refunds, such as using refunds to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds. The IRS also reports that it expects more individuals than ever to file automatic six-month extensions to file. Although the extension is “automatic,” an extension request must nevertheless be filed by the April 18 deadline or the return will be considered late. Irrespective of an extension, full payment of your 2010 tax liability is due on April 18 in any case, with interest charged on late payments and late-payment penalties usually due.

 

Estimated tax: Getting it right

Estimated tax is used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding or if not enough tax is being withheld from a person’s salary, pension or other income. Income not subject to withholding can include dividends, capital gains, prizes, awards, interest, self-employment income, and alimony, among other income items. Generally, individuals who do not pay at least 90 percent of their tax through withholding must estimate their income tax liability and make equal quarterly payments of the “required annual payment” liability during the year.